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View Full Version : Scalp happier with blowdryer..?



LoneStarfruit
March 27th, 2017, 06:19 AM
Ok fine folks, maybe you can help me out with my crabby scalp...

I've tried every single thing to try to keep my flaky scalp happy, from medicated shampoos to low-poo, no-poo, WO, etc etc--and no matter what, my scalp has been incessantly flaky. The flakes are dry, small, white/clear, and mostly around my hairline; they're not itchy, and the skin isn't red or inflamed, though I do have extremely sensitive skin (very fair, super reactive to anything I put on it, with mild/moderate rosacea). Battling the super duper hard water here in London has been an uphill struggle. I've also tried big dietary changes--the rest of my skin is much, much happier on a ketogenic diet, but even when the rest of me is looking great, my scalp is the same.

I normally air-dried my hair but since switching my schedule, I've been blowdrying it (I know! sacrilege) the past couple months and -- my scalp issues cleared up. Maybe a tiny flake here or there, but pretty much clear! I'm using a conventional shampoo (Pantene) because this is the one I need the smallest quantity of and that means less friction to my length. I also use a deep-conditioning masque (Garnier) every time I wash instead of a standard conditioner (1 round shampoo, two rounds conditioner masque; washed every other day or every two days).

Yesterday, I let my hair air dry because I had the time (and because I feel bad for abusing my hair with heat) and my scalp is an absolute mess this morning. :( Tons of flakes along the hairline and in towards the crown.

I'm presuming this is either a fungal flare (though, having worked in dermatology for a few years, I don't think this is the case) or my scalp reacting with something akin to eczema or dermatitis to the prolonged damp.

Has anyone had something like this? I'm clearly going to be stuck blowdrying my hair since it means a less crabby scalp; I think I'll use a diffuser on the scalp and try to leave the length to air-dry as much as possible, but I'm not sure what else I can do... Any help/advice/commiseration duly appreciated!

lapushka
March 27th, 2017, 06:27 AM
There is nothing wrong with blowdrying. If you use it on cool/warm, it's fine. As long as you can hold your hand in the airstream for a long time without it burning, it's fine for the hair.

I do know that I can't let my hair be without blowdrying for a long time (can't let it airdry for the full 8+H). I have seborrheic dermatitis, so I towel-dry for about 30-40 min., then airdry for 2-4H, and then diffuse for 5 min. because after all that time airdrying, that's all it takes.

It's so odd that that is what helps. But YMMV, I guess.

Again, there is *nothing* wrong with blowdrying!

Fia
March 27th, 2017, 06:45 AM
According to my GM hairdresser the scalp area along the front hairline is what she calls a "salt zone". That area contains more sweatglands and fewer sebum producing glands making it easy for it to get irritated (as the sweat dries in and the salt from it will irritate the skin, causing flakes). The solution according to the GM method is to use a BBB to spread the sebum from the crown area (where it's produced primarily) over the lengths of the hair but also to the drier front zone.

LoneStarfruit
March 27th, 2017, 06:52 AM
There is nothing wrong with blowdrying. If you use it on cool/warm, it's fine. As long as you can hold your hand in the airstream for a long time without it burning, it's fine for the hair.

I do know that I can't let my hair be without blowdrying for a long time (can't let it airdry for the full 8+H). I have seborrheic dermatitis, so I towel-dry for about 30-40 min., then airdry for 2-4H, and then diffuse for 5 min. because after all that time airdrying, that's all it takes.

It's so odd that that is what helps. But YMMV, I guess.

Again, there is *nothing* wrong with blowdrying!

I definitely don't use it on cool/warm :whistle:, I have a Diva PRO Ionic hairdryer and I blitz the heck out of it in 10 minutes. The reason I do that is because using cool fluffs/messes up the length more, so the faster it's dry, the less tangles I actually end up with. :/ I should probably be better about this...!

LoneStarfruit
March 27th, 2017, 06:54 AM
According to my GM hairdresser the scalp area along the front hairline is what she calls a "salt zone". That area contains more sweatglands and fewer sebum producing glands making it easy for it to get irritated (as the sweat dries in and the salt from it will irritate the skin, causing flakes). The solution according to the GM method is to use a BBB to spread the sebum from the crown area (where it's produced primarily) over the lengths of the hair but also to the drier front zone.

Interesting, I'll have to try brushing from the crown forward next time I BBB! My hair is quite thick, so working it through with a BBB is a little bit of a challenge, but this sounds like an interesting thing to explore. I have underactive sweat glands, so I wonder if that just means my hairline is like the Sahara Desert of scalp zones... :doh:

Hailwidis
March 27th, 2017, 07:02 AM
I can commiserate, I have a similar problem! Extremely dry skin in general, which translates into a dry, flaky scalp especially near my hairline (my forehead flakes in tandem!). I find that the harsher the shampoo, the more my scalp and forehead flake.

I haven't found a solution either. Oiling pre-wash with avocado oil helps, I have almost no flakes after that, but I don't do it for every wash as it means a slight increase in shower shed. I'm working on reducing the amount of oil I use. Leaving it on for a short time (less than an hour) is what I've found produces the least amount of shed.

It's a fine balance...

I'll try blowdrying the scalp area after my next wash and see if it helps me too. I haven't blowdried since I joined LHC, haha. I'll let you know if I get the same results as you. If I do, you might be onto something.

LoneStarfruit
March 27th, 2017, 07:06 AM
I can commiserate, I have a similar problem! Extremely dry skin in general, which translates into a dry, flaky scalp especially near my hairline (my forehead flakes in tandem!). I find that the harsher the shampoo, the more my scalp and forehead flake.

I haven't found a solution either. Oiling pre-wash with avocado oil helps, I have almost no flakes after that, but I don't do it for every wash as it means a slight increase in shower shed. I'm working on reducing the amount of oil I use. Leaving it on for a short time (less than an hour) is what I've found produces the least amount of shed.

It's a fine balance...

I'll try blowdrying the scalp area after my next wash and see if it helps me too. I haven't blowdried since I joined LHC, haha. I'll let you know if I get the same results as you. If I do, you might be onto something.

I "love" this struggle... I'm sort of stuffed either way with shampoo; if it's not harsh enough, then it doesn't lift sebum, I have to work it through harder/more thoroughly, and then I have to wash more frequently... whereas if it's harsh, I get drier scalp and I feel like I'm stripping my hair, but at the same time I can go longer without a wash. :(

What also really helps me is to really skritch (fingertips!) before I wash my hair, and while I'm shampooing. I tried the whole "treat it like the finest silk" thing with my scalp and just :( no. Too much buildup. Skritching it very very thoroughly helps to lift away flakes and makes for much smaller flakes (if any), combined with blowdrying, so a better end result. I'm of course worried if the skritching is too harsh but there has to be some balance between luscious length and looking presentable in public...

Nique1202
March 27th, 2017, 09:29 AM
It sounds like it's not fungal or eczema or anything, but more like the dead skin isn't getting loosened the way it does for most people. Even with a very oily scalp, you still get dead skin shedding all the time, just like everywhere else on your body. But if it doesn't loosen and shed regularly (like if it's getting "trapped" under the quickly-accumulating sebum) then it can build up and only come loose right after a wash. When you're blow drying, you're just loosening and shaking away more of the newly-dry dead skin than when you air dry.

I get that problem. I have very thick sebum (a little thicker than coconut oil) and it traps the dead skin cells on my scalp, and they only really become visible right after I've washed my hair. I've started massaging my scalp with my fingers and with a firm-bristled ball-tipped brush (I use the Goody Jewel line) to loosen as much of the scalp junk as possible before I wash my hair, and I really work the shampoo into my scalp as I wash to try to get everything out. This has cut down on the flakes significantly for me.

I also use a very high-sulfate shampoo (Herbal Essences Long-Term Relationship, and Tresemme Deep Cleanse once or twice a month for clarifying because of the protein in the other one) and I have to shampoo twice, because it's the only way that I can really cut through my sebum and get clean hair. I only apply shampoo to the scalp, I squeeze the suds down the length but mostly let the rinse water take care of it, and then I moisturize everything below my shoulders with a mix of heavy conditioners to offset the harshness that my scalp needs. It's worked so far, I'm at tailbone and showing very few signs of damage or impending terminal. It takes a little longer for me to shake the last few flakes out than it used to, but I can deal with that.

LoneStarfruit
March 27th, 2017, 11:08 AM
It sounds like it's not fungal or eczema or anything, but more like the dead skin isn't getting loosened the way it does for most people. Even with a very oily scalp, you still get dead skin shedding all the time, just like everywhere else on your body. But if it doesn't loosen and shed regularly (like if it's getting "trapped" under the quickly-accumulating sebum) then it can build up and only come loose right after a wash. When you're blow drying, you're just loosening and shaking away more of the newly-dry dead skin than when you air dry.

I get that problem. I have very thick sebum (a little thicker than coconut oil) and it traps the dead skin cells on my scalp, and they only really become visible right after I've washed my hair. I've started massaging my scalp with my fingers and with a firm-bristled ball-tipped brush (I use the Goody Jewel line) to loosen as much of the scalp junk as possible before I wash my hair, and I really work the shampoo into my scalp as I wash to try to get everything out. This has cut down on the flakes significantly for me.

I also use a very high-sulfate shampoo (Herbal Essences Long-Term Relationship, and Tresemme Deep Cleanse once or twice a month for clarifying because of the protein in the other one) and I have to shampoo twice, because it's the only way that I can really cut through my sebum and get clean hair. I only apply shampoo to the scalp, I squeeze the suds down the length but mostly let the rinse water take care of it, and then I moisturize everything below my shoulders with a mix of heavy conditioners to offset the harshness that my scalp needs. It's worked so far, I'm at tailbone and showing very few signs of damage or impending terminal. It takes a little longer for me to shake the last few flakes out than it used to, but I can deal with that.

Thanks! I use a wooden paddle brush with rounded ends (very soft on the scalp) that seems to give me a good amount of exfoliation (as it were) without messing up my hair. I'm still trying to find a way to really baby the ends; I might need to consider something with plenty of 'cones to really smooth down the cuticle, since I bleach. (It's in very good shape, but I'm only at MBL and I'm trying to think long term.) This definitely makes me wonder about the viscosity of sebum and what might factor into that aside from genetics (though it's probably all just genetic, alas)!

bumblebums
March 27th, 2017, 11:32 AM
Actually, it would make sense that blowdrying helps if your problems are due to fungal overgrowth. Air-drying keeps your scalp wet longer, and that might affect how much your scalp ends up itching and flaking in the long term.

Also, the only rules for hair are what works for you. Despite the impression you might get reading hair forums, there is no hair police :)

sumidha
March 27th, 2017, 11:44 AM
Is it possible to just blow dry your scalp and leave the length to dry naturally? That would minimize damage to the weakest parts of your hair.

Also, for what it's worth, I had small, dry white flakes after shampooing (along with a feeling of tightness and mild irritation/burning) until I switched to sulfate free, my scalp doesn't do well with super sulfate-y shampoos. But iyt sounds like you've experimented with that kind of thing so you've probably tried sulfate free already. :)

Rowdy
March 27th, 2017, 12:10 PM
I have noticed that blow drying my scalp and good airflow in general helps keeps my flakes away. I usually blow dry my scalp hair on med/hot and leave the length alone to air dry and I keep the dryer constantly moving around on my scalp. I have tried it on cool and it wasn't any different from when I air dry. Medium helped some but not as much as hot. I do suspect I have some mild fungal/yeasty stuff going on so this might be why the hot air helps.

Edited to add: I just remembered I never had scalp flakes when I was using box dye on my scalp/hair every 3 - 4 months either. That might have been keeping something on my scalp controlled as well.

Chromis
March 27th, 2017, 12:43 PM
I keep those pesky front flakes away mostly by doing the exact opposite of the current advice most are giving. I oil my scalp in the front. Just a couple drops, but it is a heavy oil. I had little tiny white flakes just like you are describing and before henna was the only thing that kept them at bay. Now I don't get them much at all. My scalp was just super dry right there. I don't need to oil the rest of my scalp, just that very front bit near the part and my length.

As someone else mentioned above, I also cannot use sulphate shampoos. That makes the flake nine zillion times worse any whole scalp actually feels tight and dry.

Anje
March 27th, 2017, 02:10 PM
I'm not sure blowdrying is going to be the trick for that flakey zone in front, though I've also wondered if (when I'm longhaired) I'm not better off blowdrying near the scalp on the back of my head, where it can start to feel a bit itchy and weird if kept damp for extended periods. I don't have flakes in that area, so far as I can tell.

I do like the suggestion to try oiling it. I often just condition to the scalp, since conditioner is a lot like lotion and what I'm frequently dealing with is symptoms of a dry scalp. But not everyone can do that without triggering shedding.

Silly question, but have you tried diluted vinegar rinses as a last step in your wash? For quite a few people, it seems to be a little thing that tweaks a troublesome scalp back onto the right course.

Ophidian
March 27th, 2017, 07:29 PM
I get the hairline dryness too. What has been working best for me lately is to use mild cleansing methods but wash more frequently. Too harsh and I get full-blown flakes, too mild and I get sebum and dry skin build-up. I used to be a 1x/week washer but adding a mid-week wash seems to help keep my scalp clear without overwashing. I either scritch with a comb beforehand or use a mild scrub to exfoliate just an inch or so into my hairline during the wash. Massaging in some oil beforehand also helps, but honestly I find that it has been most helpful to use it as Chromis suggested. After washing, while my hair is still damp, I massage in a tiny bit of a heavier oil like olive or olive mixed with castor just over the areas that get dry. Sometimes if it feels irritated I will use a little aloe too. If I do it before my hair has dried the oil doesn't show at all.